Improving Recording Quality 101

(Posted on November 20, 2016 by Admin)

As we’re getting many support mails asking us how to improve recording quality we decided to write this short blog post detailing some “low hanging fruit” you can pick to improve your recordings without a lot of work.

1. Get a good microphone.

Really, this is the shortest way to get better recording quality. No amount of post processing and editing will give you as good results as using a proper microphone.

While your MacBook’s built-in Mic is fine for Facetime, Skype and taking short voice memos it isn’t up to the task when it comes to recording something like a Podcast or a voice over.

So get a good Mic and skip the rest of this Blog post. which you should check out before you go out and purchase a Mic.

2. Make sure you’re recording from your good Mic

Detaching and re-attaching your Mic from your Mac can change your system settings and either OS X or Vector might fall back to your built-in Mic. So before every important recording session make sure that you’re actually recording from your good Mic and not the built-in tincan.

3. Get a carpet, a comfy sofa and curtains

Now that you have a great Mic you start noticing weird echos being recorded. That’s most likely because you’re sitting in a “sterile” room. Walls and naked floors create small echos that will make your recording sound “less good”.

So move your recording session to a room with a carpet, a nice big sofa/couch, windows with curtains, etc. These things “eat” echos and unless you want to build a dedicated recording room with egg cartons attached to the walls this is one of the best things you can do to improve your recordings.

4. Normalize and Compress your recordings

After you’re done recording you should run a “Normalize” effect on the file. Select -3db as the upper floor.

After that you should run a “Compressor” effect on your file. Vector 3 comes with such an effect filter built-in. It’s called “Multiband Compressor” and can be found in the Effects menu. Just play with the presets until you think the recording sounds good.

5. General rule of thumb

When it comes to recording there’s a general rule of thumb: The earlier in the chain you can improve something the better the end result will be. If you’re recording from a bad Mic you’ll have to do a lot of work to rescue the recording later.

If you’re recording from a untuned guitar you will spend weeks trying to fix the end result with effects and adjustments (and you will probably fail).

Replacing a bad mic or instrument takes only a few minutes but saves you a lot of work down the road. So always try to fix the early links in your recording chain.

Thanks for reading…

That’s mostly it. If you’ve got any other great tipps just let us know and we’ll add them to the list!

Vector is an audio editor for OS X that is designed to fit into the space between simple audio apps and full blown studio production tools. (Kinda like Cool Edit Pro for the Mac - if you are that old school).